There is a saying in the energy industry that 'the cheapest power plant is the one you don't have to build'.
The alternative to focusing on the 'supply' side of finding new sources of clean electricity, is to reduce the demand side of energy use.
There are many ways to be more efficient through better products (e.g. light bulbs, refrigeration), services (e.g. Smart Grid managment) and integration of new energy systems (e.g. energy storage, onsite power generation). And there are hundreds of companies that provide energy management solutions to homes and commercial businesses. But until recently we have not had an updated industry level forecast of how much energy could be saved given the right leadership and regulatory framework for utilities.
Looking ahead to 2030
A new study from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) suggests that efficiency gains could reduce the rate of growth for US electricity consumption by 22% between 2008 and 2030. 'The potential energy savings in 2030 would be 236 billion kilowatt hours, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 14 New York Cities.'
The EPRI study uses a growth rate baseline of 1.07% based on projections set by the U.S. Energy Information Administration's 2008 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO 2008).
EPRI believes that with strong political leadership and regulatory changes electricity consumption in the U.S. residential, commercial, and industrial sectors could be reduced to an annual rate of 0.83% between 2008 through 2030. Under the most 'ideal' conditions that rate could be lowered to 0.68% per year.
Read more: Assessment of Achievable Savings Potential From Energy Efficiency and Demand Response in the U.S (Executive Summary)
January 28 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy Year: 2012 Rating: 2
One of the biggest business opportunities of the next few decades will be enabling the convergence of Energy and Information systems to lower costs and improve efficiencies.
Companies such as Johnson Controls and IBM have been very vocal about their vision of a 'smart infrastructure' future. And there are a number of 'Smart Grid' startups offering utility-scale and building/home energy management solutions.
Cisco: 'Smarter' Energy Networks
Cisco Systems is widely associated with the hardware 'backbone' (e.g. routers) of the Internet, but the company is expanding into new web-based services like video collaboration and energy management.
Cisco has a very simple vision of the future of energy efficiency: If it is on the 'network', then we can make it more efficient. Why is this important? Because within a decade or two most everything that produces and consumes power will be integrated into an information (web) network.
The company has announced its new Cisco EnergyWise [PDF] technology platform that will help its customers reduce energy consumption of Internet Protocol (IP) devices such as phones, computers, and digital access points. The next step for Cisco will be offering software solutions to help manage building systems (lighting, air conditioning and heating).
The offering puts Cisco in a strong position to compete in a fully 'embedded' world where all objects and devices are on the web and energy is never wasted.
Related posts on The Energy Roadmap.com
MIT Technology Review has a great post on the use of (bee) 'swarm' inspired algorithms to reduce energy consumption of networked appliances like air conditioners, computers and heating systems. Toronto-based startup REGEN ENERGY is building smart energy platforms using new technology standards like Zigbee and micro-controllers to 'maximize collective efficiency'. Their trick is to enable 'bottom up' self organized smart grids for appliances without having to actively manage their energy consumption with a 'single order'.
Related posts on The Smart Grid
December 01 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy Year: 2012 Rating: 1
There are two major convergences to watch in the world of electricity. The first relates to the convergence of the auto industry and 'big grid' utility providers to service next generation electric vehicles powered by batteries and H2 fuel cells. The second deals with the convergence of software and energy flows. We expect major enterprise software providers to jump into 'smart grid' efforts in the years ahead. And IBM is leading the charge!
IBM's Smart Planet
In early November IBM's CEO Sam Palmisano delivered a speech on Big Blue's vision of a Smart Planet based on intelligent infrastructure for flows of energy, transportation and information. Now the company is now starting to go public with its formal strategic partnerships.
IBM has announced a pilot project with Michigan-based utility Consumers Energy, 'to help plan, deploy and test an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and smart grid field pilot network.'
But the most singificant project to date is with utility giant American Electric Power (AEP). IBM will serve as the overall systems integrator for AEP's gridSMART(SM) suite of customer programs and systems that create change the nature of energy delivery systems.
IBM will help to expand gridSMART initiatives for new production, delivering and local storage systems that make utility grids more reslient and profitable.
Smart Grid: Software, Sensors & Storage
After years of conceptual planning, 'Smart Grids' appear to be closer to reality. The ingrediants for disruption will be software and sensors to anticipate grid strains, and local storage to lower the cost of meeting peak demand.
More from IBM's Press Release:
Political and Industry leaders agree that it is time to re-imagine the Electrical 'Grid' as something 'smarter', more resilient, and open to new forms of energy storage and onsite production.
Utilities are now exploring the idea that electric vehicles (powered by batteries, fuel cells and capacitors) will someday become the new backbone of the world's electricity grids.
The questions are: 'How' and 'What does the 'Energy Web' of Tomorrow look like?'
Do we 'recharge' objects via cords and wall sockets, or do objects have their own internal power generators that are 'refueled' with high density energy 'packets'?
We are only at the beginning of exploring the future schematics of an 'energy web' infrastructure that integrates electric vehicles. But the test programs are starting to scale up!
The City of Newark has approved a small test project led by the University of Delaware's Center for Carbon-free Power Integration (CCPI) to test 'vehicle to grid' systems using plug-in hybirds integrated into the local utility grid.
Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Energy Storage & Production
(& My Skepticism of Wall Socket Infrastructure)